AUTHOR

Queer

Age Differences in Gay Couples

I’m a twenty-five-year-old openly gay man, and I’ve always liked older men. Many of my gay friends who are close to my age are critical of me and suspicious of my motives. My gay friends don’t understand it, but I don’t understand it myself, so I can’t explain it to them. I feel like I’m the only one who has this problem. I’d like to understand this better. Can you refer me to anything I might read about this?

A young man once said to me, “If I see a handsome gay man my age, he might as well have a vagina. I feel nothing.” Another said, “I don’t get aroused if I see some hot young man, but if he’s with his grandpa, I get excited.” This phenomenon is more common than most people realize, but it is rarely talked about and almost never researched. You are not alone. Continue reading

Monogamy in Gay Couples

Dr. Olson,

I don’t know how to ask this, not even sure if I should, but I will. Given that there is a difference in sex drives between younger and older men, and you are significantly older than your partner, did that ever create conflict for you and/or him, and if so, how did you resolve it?

You may ask me anything—my life’s pretty much an open book—but I also suspect that you are more interested in your own sex life than mine, and I’m guessing you are concerned about differences in sexual desires between you and either a much older or younger partner. Continue reading

Loving Women with Penises

Dr. Olson,

I feel a bit lost. I’m in my late twenties, and I have been trying to date women quite unsuccessfully for years. As a teenager I didn’t know if I liked women or men. I didn’t get aroused by looking at women in erotic materials most of the time, but I didn’t have much response looking at erotic materials of men either.

One day I found a website and thought this woman looks like the type of woman I would like to have sex with. Scrolling down, I realized she was a nonoperative, transgender woman—a woman with a penis—and I had a stronger reaction than I have ever had. I avoided it for years. Now I find that when I see a woman who was born a woman, I feel there’s something missing, and I have a recurrent fantasy of being with a woman with a penis. I have avoided it because I feel it’s something wrong, but now I think that maybe I would like to have a girlfriend who is transgender, and my arguments against it are becoming less and less good.

 Now the only things that are nearly stopping me are what my family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors would think; how it would impact my job; what risks I would experience in defending against others’ hate; what God would say; and whether there’s a “cure” for this.

You are not as alone as you feel. A book called Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are gives us some insight. The author argues that the best way to learn what people are really thinking and doing isn’t to look at research based on surveys; what people are doing is best considered by looking at big data like Google and Pornhub searches. Continue reading

“Is My Husband Gay?”

Dear Dr. Olson,

Several months ago I met my boyfriend at a party and we really clicked. He asked me out and we’ve dated since then. He treats me very well. A few months after we started dating, he told me he thought he might be bisexual. He said he’s never been in a sexual relationship with a man, but he admits to having erotic fantasies when in the presence of attractive men our age. He admits those attractions are growing stronger. He vacillates between wanting a relationship with me and exploring his same-sex attractions. He doesn’t want to commit to me “until I understand my sexuality better.” Should I try to encourage him to stay with me or set him free to explore his sexuality? Am I being too old fashioned?

First let me say that most people who are bisexual will tell you that just because they’re bisexual doesn’t mean they cannot be monogamous. If you read through the comments on my essay “The Messy Realities of Bisexuality,” you will find many who say that whether you are bisexual or heterosexual, everyone experiences attractions to people outside their primary relationship. But we also have a choice: to control those desires or act on them. Bisexual people are no more promiscuous in their sexual behavior than heterosexuals. But heterosexuals aren’t all that good at monogamy either. Continue reading

Are Women Terrified about Coming Out?

Loren,

I just read your comment that concealed sexual orientation is like an abscess begging to be ruptured. Can this be true about women also? I work with a lady who is late middle-age and I think she is struggling with this. Her looks are gay or androgynous. I cannot imagine being that terrified of my sexuality. I feel like I have fallen in love with her.

First let me say that most of my work has been with men, and I don’t want to attempt to mansplain women’s experiences. Women need to do that for themselves. I did ask some women to read my book, Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, to see if they felt their experience paralleled my own. Continue reading

Religion and the Shackles of Lies and Hypocrisy

Dr. Olson,

Thank you so much for your essay on loneliness. It felt like the story of my life. I am currently seeking ways to free myself from the closet. I am older, not young. Maybe it’s beginning to happen now. I have read much about liberating myself from what I call “the shackles of lies and hypocrisy.” For me, religion has been a big difficulty. I’m trying my best to overcome my religion’s expectations and living a lie in the closet.

I was raised a Lutheran and at one time thought I’d always be a Lutheran, but when I came out to my mother, she went to her pastor, who told her, “Loren is going to hell unless he changes his ‘lifestyle.’” I left formal religion for the next twenty years but returned after I discovered an open and affirming church where I felt at home as an openly gay man. Lutheran churches are not all the same, and many have since moderated their stance on sexual orientation. But the point here isn’t about one religion or another. The point is that religious beliefs vary even within a church umbrella, and religious beliefs also evolve. It appears there is no “One Truth.” Continue reading

Coming Out as Bisexual

Dear Loren,

I am a gay-leaning bisexual man, and I still love my wife after being married for forty years. I’m struggling with the morality, risks, and benefits of “coming out.” There doesn’t seem to be a good way to do this as a bisexual without harming my wife, damaging our relationship, and complicating her relationships with our mutual friends and family. My wife and I are monogamous, and I have no interest in changing that. What is to be gained by being publicly open? Did you ever consider coming out as bisexual? Perhaps it’s a generational issue.

Coming out is not an event but rather a process. Some people believe that unless you make a public declaration of your sexual orientation, you haven’t completed that process. I disagree. Continue reading

Sign up for Dr. Olson’s Ask the Doc Posts and Newsletter